- Published on Thursday, 03 September 2015 21:13
ALOR SETAR: Efforts to study and preserve the national treasure at the Sungai Batu Archaeological site must be redoubled as the remains found at the site of 'Kedah Tua' symbolises greatness of the Malay civilisation in the archipelago.
State religious, siamese community affairs, tourism and heritage, public works committee chairman Datuk Mohd Rawi Abdul Hamid said the archeological site near Sungai Petani needed attention and additional funds from the federal government.
"The Sungai Batu archelogical site is not any ordinary archeological find but it is the finding of a civilisation, which to me, can show that Malaysia is great and a Malay race with great civilisation was here.
"This (Sungai Batu Civilisation) is not a civilisation of Kedah alone but that of the Malays in the archipelago. It indirectly, will boost the identity of the Malays and furnish proof this race is the greatest in South East Asia. It should be discussed in Cabinet and focused upon," he told Bernama recently.
According to Mohd Rawi, he had informed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on the importance of the Sungai Batu Civilisation and how it could bring pride and boost the morale of the people as a nation.
Since 2009, researchers had made several important findings at the archeological site which indicated existence of the Sungai Batu civilisation about 2,000 years ago.
One of their most important finds was a ritual worship monument in the form of a circle at the bottom and the construction of a square within it, which had a very accurate measurement and was confirmed to be 1,900 years old or 110 AD.
The confirmation of the age of the monument using the Optically Stimulated Luminescence technology proved the Sungai Batu civilisation was hundreds of years older that Borobudur, Indonesia and Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
In addition, researchers also found many remnants of furnaces which proved that 'Kedah Tua' during its heydays was the premier metal smelting centre in South East Asia, complete with harbour and commercial facilities.
In Sanskrit, 'Kedah Tua' was referred to as 'Kataha', meaning the rice bowl of the world.
The findings of the remnants of ancient ships in Sungai Kuno which had flowed through the Sungai Batu Archeological area, thousands of years ago only confirms the supremacy of 'Kedah Tua' as a commercial centre and the superiority of the civilisation of the people there.
According to Mohd Rawi, adequate funds are also necessary for the purchase of privately-owned land in the Sungai Batu archeological site.
A preliminary study by Universiti Sains Malaysia's Global Archeological Research Centre revealed the privately-owned land, in all likelihood, contained national archeological treasures, he said.
"Sad indeed, if we don't buy them, as they may contain valuable treasures. This (Sungai Batu) is a very great civilisation."